American cities to have driverless cars by next year

It won’t be long before some major American cities feature self-driving cars:

Automated vehicle pilot projects will roll out in the U.K. and in six to 10 U.S. cities this year, with the first unveiling projected to be in Tampa Bay, Florida as soon as late spring. The following year, trial programs will launch in 12 to 20 more U.S. locations, which means driverless cars will be on roads in up to 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2016. The trials will be run by Comet LLC, a consulting firm focused on automated vehicle commercialization…

He explained that they’re focusing on semi-controlled areas and that the driverless vehicles will serve a number of different purposes—both public and private. The vehicles themselves—which are all developed by Veeo Systems—will even vary from two-seaters to full-size buses that can transport 70 people. At some locations, the vehicles will drive on their own paths, occasionally crossing vehicle and pedestrian traffic, while at others, the vehicles will be completely integrated with existing cars…

In addition to the first test site set for Tampa Bay, they’re looking to implement two more projects in Florida. The Comet team is also planning trials in Greenville, South Carolina and Seattle, Washington, where the 70-person buses will be used in public transit.

At 25 to 40 percent cheaper, the cost to ride the driverless public transit vehicles will be significantly less expensive than traditional buses and trains, according to Mr. Clothier. They’ll also be far less expensive to operate. The vehicles are electric, rechargeable and could cost as low as $1 to $3 to run per day.

I used to think people would find such vehicles disturbing at first but I wonder if people will even take a second long by the time these come along. And, even if they are bothered or it takes some time to get used to, people would definitely like the cost savings, safety, and dependability. Now, whether the cost savings would be passed on to mass transit riders is another matter…

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  1. Pingback: Today’s cars with more 100 million lines of code | Legally Sociable

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